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Hughes near return after rehab start (5 IP, 3 ER)

Special to MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Phil Hughes got a bit closer to possibly joining the Minnesota Twins by the time they need a fifth starter, after a successful rehab outing on Thursday. Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, allowed three runs in five innings for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. The right-hander gave up eight hits and one walk and struck out five batters in 65 pitches.

"The outing went well the other day," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said Saturday, before the Twins hosted the Seattle Mariners. "He got his pitches up a little bit closer to being able to start, if you will. I saw that he touched 94 the other day.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Phil Hughes got a bit closer to possibly joining the Minnesota Twins by the time they need a fifth starter, after a successful rehab outing on Thursday. Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, allowed three runs in five innings for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. The right-hander gave up eight hits and one walk and struck out five batters in 65 pitches.

"The outing went well the other day," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said Saturday, before the Twins hosted the Seattle Mariners. "He got his pitches up a little bit closer to being able to start, if you will. I saw that he touched 94 the other day.

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"We're just going to have to see how things play out here. He's still on rehab assignment, so we're just going to see how that plays out and what happens with the weather and games being played the next couple of days and all of those things."

Minnesota would likely need another starter on April 11, but the cold weather could alter those plans. Snow is in the forecast for Sunday's game against Seattle and the forecast calls for temperatures in the 30s with the Twins on a 10-game homestand.

Hughes, 31, went 4-3 with a 5.87 ERA last season and injuries have limited him to 26 games the past two seasons. He's undergone surgery twice to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome and had a broken bone in his left leg.

Brian Hall is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minneapolis who covered the Twins on Saturday.

Minnesota Twins, Phil Hughes